Monday, April 25, 2011

How the Girl Guides Won the War

I spent much of this weekend (outside of boxing and the Easter Vigil and making croissants and hosting Easter dinner) reading How the Girl Guides Won the War.

It talks about the Girl Guide movement in the context of World War II, when girls used the skills they'd learned in Guides to raise money for the war effort, provide first aid, and help refugees. It talks about girls who went to an international conference, not knowing whether war would break out before they got back. (I can't imagine what that permission slip looked like.)

I've mentioned before that I'm a leader with Sparks, which is the branch of Girl Guides of Canada for 5 & 6 year olds.

We don't pull people out of bombed houses or guide people through the sewers to avoid the Nazis. In fact, if you asked me what we do at Sparks, I'd probably say something like "games, songs, and crafts".

It's true. That's what we do at Sparks.

We also learn how to put on bandaids. My girls know that if you're building a fire, you start with the small sticks and put the big logs on the outside. If there is a fire, you get outside through whatever door is closest and run to the basketball hoop. In an earthquake, you hide under a solid table.

The Spark promise is "I promise to share and be a friend", so we collect money every week for Girl Guides around the world. It's used when there are earthquakes and floods. It's used to build wells. It brings girls to Canada and sends girls from Canada around the world. We talk about what it's like to live in other places - what is the same, what is different.

At camp in June, we'll talk about fire safety as we cook our lunch over the campfire. We'll make pizza dough from scratch for supper. We'll go on treasure hunts and hikes and talk about what to do if you're lost in the woods. They'll ask what will happen if we see a bear.

We won't see a bear.

It's not about saving people from life and death situations. It's about keeping your eyes open and being prepared.

That hasn't changed.

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